Turks and Caicos Islands Geography
Sources: The Library of Congress Country Studies
Located 920 kilometers southeast of Miami and about 50 kilometers southeast of the Bahamian island of Mayaguana, the Turks and Caicos are a group of 8 major islands and more than 40 small islets and cays (see Glossary). The islands are made up of two groups separated by the thirty-five-kilometer-wide Turks Island Passage: the westernmost Caicos Islands, including six of the major islands, and the easternmost Turks Islands with the remaining two major islands (see fig. 20). The islands have a total land area of 430 square kilometers, about the size of San José, California.
Geologically, the islands are a part of the Bahamas archipelago, which rises above a shallow submarine platform. All are low lying, with the highest point barely fifteen meters above sea level. Soils are poor, shallow, and infertile. Low scrub covers most of the islands, although several of the larger Caicos Islands have stands of pine. Mangrove swamps fringe coastal areas. No streams are found on the islands, but a few have brackish ponds.
The climate is tropical with distinct wet and dry seasons. Annual precipitation varies from 100 to 150 centimeters. Rain falls in heavy brief showers, almost entirely in the period from May to October. Temperatures average 27°C in summer and 21°C in winter. Maximums and minimums seldom exceed 32°C or 16°C. In summer, trade winds blow from the southeast, whereas in winter the northeast trades predominate. Hurricanes occasionally affect the islands in late summer or fall.
Data as of November 1987
NOTE: The information regarding Turks and Caicos Islands on this page is re-published from The Library of Congress Country Studies and the CIA World Factbook. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Turks and Caicos Islands Geography information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Turks and Caicos Islands Geography should be addressed to the Library of Congress and the CIA.